Accelerator Program Brings Together Stora Enso and Startups – Unique Opportunities and Potentially Great New Business for Both Parties

How does this sound to you: an executive education program that combines theory and hands-on work with the best lecturers, a big international company, and six startups – all with the goal of creating new innovation and business opportunities together?

Tiia Lappalainen, 09.11.2020

The Accelerator program developed by Aalto University Developing Entrepreneurship (Aalto ENT), Vertical, and Stora Enso is exceptional at many levels.

It brings together academic knowledge and business know-how and provides Stora Enso’s talents and innovative startups with a high-level executive education that they can immediately put in to practice together.

Shaking hands with agility as well as the resources and networks of a big international corporation, the Accelerator program helps startups to bring their innovations and solutions straight to a bigger stage and Stora Enso to work with innovations in a more agile way.

“For startups, the program gives access to the highest level leadership and decision-makers in Stora Enso. At the same time, they have a strong opportunity to continue co-working with Stora Enso after the program if they come up with a good solution together,” says Dr. Fabian Sepulveda, Aalto EE’s Senior Advisor and one of the original designers of the Accelerator program.

Aalto ENT gathers participants and operators together and provides the best theoretical knowledge. This is put into practice with the help of Vertical, which supports the startups during the program and helps with co-development and co-creation.

The topics covered in the program include, among many others, future scenarios, value, customers, business models, innovation, commercialization, pitching, and agile methods.

“We have designed a holistic experience where participants learn tools that they can immediately put into practice,” says Fabian Sepulveda.

Program designed equally for both parties

Now it is time for the third Accelerator program and enrolment for startups is on. The focus is on plastic-free supply chains. Six startups will be selected for the program.

Selected startups will work together with Stora Enso’s three-member team to explore different solutions and innovations.

The intensive, three-month program has been successful in many ways and many of the startups from previous programs are still working with Stora Enso.

All prospective participants go through a tight application process from Stora Enso’s side in which their motivation and capability is tested. So they really need to make an effort to get in to the program.
Stora Enso’s Head of Business Alliances Marcus Dehlin joined the first Accelerator program.

“It is fundamental that this program is really designed for both parties. Startups get hands on contributions to their business and ideas, and for Stora Enso this offers the possibility of entering their world and challenges. The outcome is not pre-defined, it is based on mutual interest and working on it together,” says Mr. Dehlin.

One of the best aspects of the program, according to Mr. Dehlin, is that theory and practice walk hand in hand and participants work closely and intensively together.

Janne Anttila, Head of Marketing for a startup called Sftec considers Stora Ensos commitment for the work to be very important.

“Stora Enso is fully committed to work for three months to help find ways to utilize the solution within their organization. Stora Enso resources their employees for three months during the program, so the amount of work that can be done is very meaningful,” Mr. Anttila says.

“The program opened a large number of doors and even acted as a marketing channel within Stora Enso, this generated interest towards our solution from across different teams. The agile way of working that was facilitated by Vertical was embraced together with Stora Enso and has been taken onboard in our company's internal practices.”

Do you have an idea or a technology that could have an impact on plastic-free supply chain? Read more and apply.

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